When I was younger I did a lot more things that were unwise. In one particular instance, my friend and I decided to build a campfire in the woods. It wasn’t long before it was bigger than we could handle. We didn’t want to tell our parents what we had done so we avoided them and tried to get help from my friend’s brother. The water hose wouldn’t reach and we eventually had to tell my friend’s mom who called the fire department. That night, I felt bad and was afraid of my dad finding out. Because of my guilty conscience, I avoided being around him. I don’t even remember what he did when he found out. I just remember trying to not cross paths with him because of what i had done.
That same guilty conscience has a way of showing up in my spiritual life too. When I sin or mess up, i act like Adam and Eve. I try to hide from God. I avoid my prayer time because I’m embarrassed. Even though I’ve asked for forgiveness, there’s a period of time where I allow my shame to keep myself out of His presence. I know I’m not the only one who does this. We all do to some extent. We somehow think our failures and sins disqualify us from being children of God, even after we’ve repented. Even though God has forgiven them and forgotten them, somehow we can’t.
I find hope in 1 John 3:20. It says, “Whenever our hearts make us feel guilty and remind us of our failures, we know that God is much greater and more merciful than our conscience, and he knows everything there is to know about us” (TPT). God knows everything about us including our thoughts…and He still loves us and calls us His children. If you struggle with this like i do, it’s time to forgive yourself because God already has. You are still His child and worthy of being in His presence. Don’t diminish the work Jesus did on the cross by thinking your sin is somehow stronger than the blood He shed. It’s time to Forgive yourself. God isn’t looking for perfection from you. He understands your human condition and loves you no matter what you’ve done. Find your freedom today and get back in His presence.
Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash
When my brothers and I were younger, there were times when we rough housed. One time, I broke something valuable, but my mom thought it was my brother who broke it. Without questioning anyone, she whipped him. I felt bad, but at the same time, I didn’t want to get whipped. My guilt began to eat at me. Finally, I confessed because the feeling if guilt was too much. I took an extra whipping for letting my brother take the punishment, but at least my feelings of guilt were gone.
Feeling guilty can be very powerful and affect so many areas of our life. Either we confess and deal with the consequences or it eats us up inside. It can consume our thoughts and affect how we live. I like to watch “The First 48”, which is a reality show that follows the police in the first 48 hour of a murder investigation. When they capture the person, they often tell them, “If you’ll confess, you’ll feel better.” Many of them do confess with tears running down their face. They still have to face their consequences, but there’s a release in that moment.
Becoming a Christian is a lot like that. We confess our sins to God and He releases us from the eternal consequences of our guilt. We usually have to face earthly consequences for our actions, but our eternal guilt is gone. Those feelings of guilt fade away because we’ve been forgiven when we confess. God removed our guilt and says, “Your eternal penalty was paid for by my Son. He paid the price for your actions.”
In Psalm 32:1-2, David wrote, “Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the LORD has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!” (NLT) God values our honesty with Him and through our honest confessions, forgiveness is given. David understood the joy of being released from the guilt of sin. He understood that God values our honesty with Him. He knows we’ve messed up. He knows we’re guilty. He loves us enough that He’s prepaid for our guilt and is waiting for us to admit it. Don’t carry your guilt anymore. Confess it to God and find that joy you’re missing.